As we covered exclusively earlier on Opposition Report, it has become clear that George Papadopoulos, the ex-Trump adviser who cut a deal with the Special Counsel team, was acting as an informant for the FBI in the days leading up to his October 5th agreement with Robert Mueller.
Whether Papadopoulos personally arranged for the “dirt” on Hillary Clinton gathered by the Russian government to be delivered by Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at the infamous “secret meeting” between her and Donald Trump Junior, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort is yet to be seen. But the fact that he was a cooperating witness is indicative of a deeper connection to the probe than is being let on at this time.
Some incredible digging by famed attorney and professor of journalism Seth Abramson has unearthed what that details. In an incredible timeline laid out by Seth on his Twitter account, he outlines the facts as we know them so far, then brings those facts to their logical conclusion.
WHAT WE KNOW:
George Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27th, 2017. He entered his guilty plea, as we now know in exchange for information, on October 5th, 70 days after his arrest. When he entered that plea, the government “sealed” the documents pertaining to his case, in order to keep his identity a secret, so that he could be an effective informant.
As Seth explains again, for anyone who hasn’t caught up with previous reporting, “proactive cooperator” in this case means someone who can wear a wire, so to speak — either actual electronic surveillance equipment, or the provision of access to authorities to his email and phone conversations, but likely a combination of all of the above.
That means that Papadopoulos was acting as an informant at the very latest by October 5th, when he cut the deal. It is likelier that he was “cooperating” much earlier than that. Seth points out that in order to demonstrate their value to the prosecution, defendants — and remember Papadopoulos was a defendant way back in July — are often required to undergo covert surveillance in advance of being offered a deal like the one we know George got.
HERE’S WHAT HASN’T YET BEEN COVERED:
In order to have been offered a deal, Papadopoulos must either have already gotten intel for Mueller’s team, or have promised the ability to get intelligence after October 5th. Either scenario is a nightmare for Trump: If he had intel already, it’s already in Mueller’s hands and it’s juicy enough to have earned him a deal from Special Counsel. If he was offering to get intel, it means he still had access to significantly high enough levels of the Trump administration to make a difference during the last three weeks. That, of course, would put the lie to everything Team Trump has been saying since news of his plea broke, attempting to distance themselves from him and calling him a minor figure in the campaign and administration.
In fact, it already does make Trump a liar when he minimizes Papadopoulos’ importance, because, at the very least, he still had access to top administration officials as recently as the day he cut his deal — this month. And what that means is that he was far more critical to the investigation than any of us know at this point. If that’s the case, then the likelihood of him cutting such a huge deal over some simple lies under oath goes down to almost nil. So if he himself was guilty of more, then what he would have had to promise to get the deal would have had to be equally big.
A senior official.
Papadopoulos had two supervisors and the guy who hired him that he had essentially constant access to, at least at first. He was hired by Sam Clovis, and his two supervisors (as a foreign policy adviser) were Jeff Sessions and Paul Manafort himself. Mueller already had Manafort on other charges, so there’s no way that he uses Papadopoulos to get him. Sessions has likely avoided Papadopoulos since he recused himself from anything and everything related to Russia.
Sam Clovis, as you may or may not know, was at the time Trump’s liaison with his national security team. He had access to — he literally heard — everything Trump said, every instruction to the team as far as the GOP platform was involved. In other words, Sam Clovis will be able to testify if Donald Trump ever said a word about unilaterally lifting the sanctions on Russia that we discussed in the last article here.
Clovis disappeared from the NatSec team at the same time that Papadopoulos was arrested. Trump announced that he would be giving Clovis a job in charge of the USDA — a totally incongruous assignment for a former radio host and a non-scientist — less than a week before Papadopoulos was arrested.
So wisdom says that Sam Clovis is the next man in line for indictment, possibly already in one of the still-sealed indictments being reported over at New Century Times as we speak that rests in sequential order on the DC docket.
And you can count on Clovis to roll on Trump: He’s being reported right now on Politico and elsewhere as a “cooperative witness” in the Senate Investigation. If he’s already talking to them, you can bet that he’ll sing like a bird to Bob Mueller.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images